Today is one of those days. The past few days have been pretty rough. Will has been super needy for some reason, and Sophie, very clingy. She’s had a bit of a cold and I think her teeth are bugging her, even though there are absolutely zero signs of them coming through. Will has been going to bed late and getting up early and has been coughing a bit too. On a good night, I get enough sleep to function. I never get enough sleep to actually feel well. Last night was awful. I tried to go to bed right after 10 and she wouldn’t sleep the second she was in the bed with me. We traded her off all night and she was up for the day around 6:30.
I got together with some friends yesterday and we all have kids the same age. One of them was saying, what do you do when you have to give and give and give, and you are SO empty, then you have to keep giving… what do you give when you are completely empty? What do you give when you are already in the red? What do you do when you can never, ever replenish yourself… when you do get a break but then that night is a bad night and the next morning you are right where you were before your break? Does this ever get better? What’s the alternative? Suicide? Not for me, I don’t believe that’s a good solution for anything… plus it would wreck a lot of people I care about. What do you do when you are spent and in the red and you can’t get one emotional cent back into yourself for more than an hour? Then it’s gone? What do you do?
I think those of us who are attached parents are particularly vulnerable, because we don’t (and can’t) just put the baby down and let it cry itself out, we can’t hand the baby off to someone else to feed all day while we run off and do something fun (unless we pump for days before, and the whole time we’re gone). We cannot bear to leave our children for a week, because we start missing them at the mere thought of it. We were talking yesterday, that I don’t think we were meant to raise children alone. I think all the village women helped care for everyone, women even nursed each other’s babies, kids had many women they called “mom”. We are so isolated now and I don’t think it’s supposed to be this way. Cultures who breastfeed til 4 years and beyond, who wear their babies during all waking hours and sleep with them snuggled up close, THOSE cultures have many women at home tending to the whole group’s needs, not just one person trying to wrangle children for 11-12 hours, then most of the night as well, plus food preparation and other household responsibilities. The culture is set up in such a way that raising babies and making sure mothers have a lot of backup is a priority.
But that still doesn’t answer my question… what do you do when you are bankrupt? If you are financially bankrupt, you can get your debts pardoned. It leaves a mark on your record, but you get relief. As long as nothing unforseen happens, and you manage your money wisely, you will be OK. But that doesn’t happen for this. I am beginning to feel like a shell of the person I used to be. I have two beautiful kids yet I feel so empty, I’m just spent. Overspent. How can I meet the needs of needy kids when I am so needy myself? And the really sad thing is that most of my mom friends (with kids in the 0-3 year range) feel the same. We are just a big group of need. I feel like I could suck the universe dry and not feel better. I should weigh 95 pounds with all this stress and lack of sleep. I don’t understand it.
My friends at Sleep Is For The Weak have a category in their blog called “so tired I could die” and that’s how I feel today. Except, I feel so tired, and empty, that I could die. And, I am losing hope that this will ever get better. It just isn’t going to happen. Sometimes I wonder if I should have even done this, maybe I’m not cut out for it. In fact I’ve never felt so unsure of anything.
And, does anything we do matter, ever? Sometimes I find myself wiping the blood off my forehead because all I do is pound it on the wall all day. Do I have to wait 20 years to see that my mothering has done a couple of people any good at all? What about me???